Men’s Aftershave, Eau De Toilette, Cologne – What’s The Difference?

The difference between aftershave and eau de toilette explained

Smelling great with a signature fragrance is one of the key stables of male grooming. Everyone’s got their own scent that they wear. Although we may mix it up from time to time when going out, we tend to stick with the same fragrance for a good few years. But, do you actually know what difference between eau de toilette and aftershave is?

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Although fragrance is a key part to our daily grooming routine, not many of us are clear about the difference between eau de toilette or aftershave, let alone what makes cologne different.

Many of us unknowingly use the terms interchangeably without realising they are completely different types of fragrances.

The Difference Between Aftershave and Eau De Toilette Explained

Aftershave, eau de toilette and cologne are all distinctively different types of fragrance. Once you understand their function, it’s easy to understand why they are different and shouldn’t be so easily confused. Since understanding the differences, we’ve never used the terms interchangeably. We understand the difference between eau de toilette and aftershave.

Fragrance contains a key essential ingredient that gives each fragrance it’s scent, the perfume oil. It is essentially varying concentrations of these perfume oils which result in the difference between aftershave and eau de toilette.


Aftershave contains less perfume oil than eau de toilette. Aftershave contains a concentration of around 1-3% of perfume oil. Aftershave typically contains soothing ingredients such as Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is great for soothing the skin after a shave, hence the term ‘Aftershave’. Making aftershave a post-shave essential.

The high alcohol content of aftershave help close the skin’s pores which become opened due to the hot water used in shaving. The action of the aftershave on the pore helps to keep the risk of inflammation, infection and spots to a minimum.

Aftershave typically only lasts for a few hours making it ideal for daily use where you don’t want to knock everyone out at work with an overpowering smell. Aftershave properly isn’t great for a night out on the town – this is where eau de toilette is preferred.

Eau De Toilette

Eau de Toilette contains a higher percentage of perfume oil, around 4%-8%. Due to the high oil content of eau de toilette, you wouldn’t want to apply any after a shave. That’s a pretty much guaranteed way to come out in a rash!

Due to the high perfume concentration, EDT is typically more expensive than aftershave. Another difference between eau de toilette and aftershave.

Eau de Toilette is great for making sure you smell good on a night out, all night long.

You should apply eau de toilette on pulse points, areas of the skin where the veins are near the surface. These pulse points heat the eau de toilette, releasing the aroma for everyone to smell. Perfect locations to apply eau de toilette include the neck, wrist and chest.


Cologne, also referred to as Eau de Cologne, typically contains a higher % of perfume oil than aftershave, but less than eau de toilette. The lower concentration of perfume oil makes it a lighter and not so long lasting fragrance.

In the world of men’s fragrance, the definitions are slightly blurred with even fragrance houses confusing the terms. Often referring to eau de toilette strength fragrances as cologne – typically most colognes on the market have high perfume oil concentrations, making them arguably an EDT.

Additional to aftershave, eau de toilette and cologne are eau de Parfum and Parfum (or perfume). These are typically rarer due to the higher price points of the products. These both contain higher concentrations of perfume oil compared to the others with parfum having the strongest concentration of oil.

So to recap, the difference between eau de toilette and aftershave is the concentration of the perfume oils and thus the price points.

You should now be clear about exactly what each of these types of fragrances are and how to select the type of fragrance based on your requirements. E.g. if you’re looking for a daily fragrance then go for an aftershave and not an eau de toilette.

Looking to discover a new fragrance? Check out the latest offers to be had here.

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